Musings about capacity building, program evaluation, and data visualization.
Years of working with nonprofits, community coalitions, foundations, and state agencies has taught me one thing: data is messy! But that doesn’t mean that data has to be confusing. Opportunities and outcomes mapping offers a 3-step process to help organizations reconnect with your vision and values. This process will transform your team to move from data to insight to action so you can do your good work even better.
In my evaluation work, I wear many hats, often balancing multiple roles each day: consultant, coach, collaborator, writer, designer, advocate. Right now the hat I am most proud of is solopreneur. In 2021, I took the leap to move to full-time solopreneurship and run my own business. This is something I had been dreaming about and planning for years. So in true evaluator fashion, I spoke to colleagues – both new and experienced – during the planning process to hear about their work in the field.
Years ago, when I first learned about data visualization, I went all in. I read books and blogs, listened to podcasts, attended workshops, and poured over the guiding principles. I thought that if I understood the rules, then I could get it “right.”
But focusing on getting things “right” presents challenges. It perpetuates dichotomous thinking and stifles creativity. It often prioritizes Western ways of thinking and leaves out community voice. It raises criticism rather than encouraging conversation.
Too often we hide our findings in dense text-based reports. Our clients have to sift through pages upon pages of narrative to find the gems. This is all while they navigate competing demands for their attention and time. Odds are that your report becomes just another thing on their ever growing to-do list. There’s a better way!
This is the third post in a series in which I share my experiences adopting more inclusive and non-violent language into my work. Part 1 discussed inclusive and strengths-based language, Part 2 discussed non-violent language, and Part 3 (this one) talks about language commonly used by organizations.
One of the most popular Excel tricks in my data visualization workshops is creating small multiple bar charts. This post is a guide for how to create this type of chart. It also explains how to go beyond the Excel defaults to automatically add labels on the outside end of each bar.